Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Nashville Recap

Ching is once again switching from one contracting company to another one, so she decided to take a week off in between so we could do a road trip/vacation.  Almost everyone here in Virginia goes to one beach or another for their summer trips.  Having an aversion to lots of sunshine (sunburns and skin cancer) and heat and humidity, summer beach trips aren't at the top of my list.  Noah won't get in water with waves anyway, so we can always go in cooler weather and just run and play in the sand.  Ching and I would love to go to a nice place with casinos, but we'd also need a babysitter for Noah there if we wanted to do any gambling together.  So we nixed that idea.

Really, our biggest goal in vacations is usually to eat some really good food.  I know you're all more than aware of just how much we hate the local offerings.  Sigh.

We became more aware of Nashville as a possible destination a few years ago when another lesbian mom couple who lived there had a blog.  They gave us some good recommendations on food and things to do with Noah.  I also knew Tennessee was a beautiful state to drive through.  We have thought about going to Dollywood, which is actually a little closer, but Noah's not so much into amusement parks and rides and such yet.  Maybe another year.

So, we looked up driving time and decided we could do it.  (It ended up being twelve hours instead of the ten or so we thought, but still within a day's drive.)

After our first day of driving, we stopped at the Black Eyed Pea to get some dinner and fried green tomatoes.  Yum.  Thankfully the place was mostly empty on the Monday evening, because we knew after being in the car all day Noah wouldn't be so great at sitting still.  He spent a lot of the time playing waiter.  It was new and funny and cute.  He'd make a great waiter!  We also got lucky that our actual waiter told us of some additional places to eat in a new-ish, hipster-ish East Nashville neighborhood that wasn't all that far from our hotel.

I got smart on this trip when finding a hotel and put all the places I knew we wanted to go into Google maps and then found a hotel within that vicinity.  One of the reasons we like road trips as opposed to flying is having the car to do more exploring and driving around in the cities we visit.

I had also checked the weather for the week, I knew we'd be driving in rain on Monday, just didn't know it'd be so much, or such downpours.  It was still a little wet out Tuesday morning, so we went to the Adventure Science Center.  It was really cool.  It had two things Noah loved, an ambulance he could pretend to drive, and a big mouth you could try to throw soft balls into as it open and closed.  (Actually, Ching had just as much fun with that!)

The next day we went to the Nashville Zoo.  There was a lot of walking, a lot of skinny moms, and not so many animals.  It was kinda ok there weren't a lot of animals, because Noah just wanted to run and run on all the trails. 

Nashville also has a full scale replica of the Parthenon.  It's part of the huge Centennial Park.  There was also a local outdoor Shakespeare presentation that Noah sat through about ten minutes of going on.

Other than that, activity wise, we went down to the pool every evening.  Noah spent the first two days sitting on the steps, not going out into the pool at all.  Even with other kids there, he's engage with them, but not get out in the water.  Finally, on the last day, he let Ching carry him all around the pool!  So brave!

As for food.  Yum!!  Southern cooking for the win.

We had the best hot dogs ever at I Dream of Weenie.   This was the first place we tried in the hip neighborhood.

Then we tried Martin's BBQ.  Oh my.  Best bbq we've had outside of Texas.  It was so good, we went back for lunch another day.  Their brisket sandwiches are put on Texas Toast - so how could it not be good.  

For lunch another day we went to Batter'd & Fried Boston Seafood place in the hipster neighborhood.  Sounds crazy.  But I had the best fried seafood platter and Ching had an enormous platter of fresh sushi!

Our last morning there we decided to find a good southern breakfast.  There were so many choices, but we went with Loveless because they're supposed to have great buttermilk biscuits.  It, too, lived up to the hype.  Ching came home with a couple of jars of jam!

We enjoyed our little stay in Nashville.  It often reminded us of Austin - but a more southern, conservative, less hip and rich version.  I would probably prefer the Austin of 15 years ago, but the Austin of today, with it's overgrowth, would be harder to choose.

It also led to me pondering, too much, about the difference between being a Texan and being a Southerner.  I have a feeling a lot of the difference has to do with Texas' limited role in the Civil War and such. 

Saturday, August 16, 2014

We Have A Four Year Old

Noah turned four just over a couple of weeks ago.  We're already starting to notice the difference.

He's always been independent, but it's increasing.  On our trip to Nashville, not only was he in charge of all elevator button pushing - and he always got it right, he also decided to be in charge of using the key card to open the room door.  We had to tell him which way it went a couple of times, but he mostly go it right.

Today, at the grocery store, he decided today was the day he was in charge of pushing the grocery cart.  Now, he's tall for his age, but not tall enough to see over the cart.  But he did a good job, with a little verbal correction - because there was no way he was going to allow one of us to put a hand on the cart to help him!

One of his new phrases is "follow me".  Heh.  He's still using a lot of "I'm fine."  As in, when he's being a bit bad, "Do you want to go to your room?"  "Nope, I'm fine."  And he'll say "No, I can't have it." instead of "I don't want it."

We were talking today about how we're looking forward to him using "I"m fine" on his teachers at school.  "Noah, will you sit down and listen to the story?"  "Nope, I'm fine."  Sigh.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Big Changes Coming

Noah turns 4 in a week.  Yesterday would have been his birthday if he'd been born on his due date. 

For me, it feels like he's been 3 for at least two years.

Partly because he's getting older and bigger, and partly because of his school schedule this Fall, some big changes should be coming soon. 

Before all of that, my parents and nephew are coming for a visit.  Noah's going to love having them here, and then he's going to be sad for a while after they're gone.  Ching's cousin came to visit last weekend, and he's still asking where she is sometimes. 

One change is that he's about to outgrow his crib.  We decided to wait until after the family visit to change it - one crazy thing at a time.  We can change the front of the crib to be a low bar so he won't fall out, but he'll be able to get up and out of bed if he wants to.  We're not really sure how he's going to do with that. 

For the past month or so, he keeps waking us up in the middle of the night (sometimes two or three times) to turn his Sophia The First soundtrack back on. So we're pretty ready for him to be able to get up and do that sort of thing for himself! Of course, we're also expecting him to play with his toys half the night and fall asleep in the middle of his floor.  

We're also going to have to get night lights for our stairs (thankfully, for some odd reason there are not one but two outlets on the walls of the stairs).  We'll have his door closed and the kid proof handle so he can't get out and around.  But, if/when this dear child ever really does potty train and needs to get up and pee - well, then we can't have him "locked" in his room.  

Seriously - how often do 4/5 year olds get up and go pee in the middle of the night?

Yes, then there's potty training.  We haven't pushed him on this.  For the whole last year at pre-school, they would go to the potty every day and he learned how to pull down his pants/diaper and sit and pee.  If you tell him to go pee, fine, he will.  But, even when we tried regular undies and training undies, he would just pee and not tell us he needed to or that he was bothered by it.  Ugh.  

Again, after the family visit, we're going to have to get a little more serious about training.  He loves lollipops and Starbursts and stickers - so we'll see if bribery/rewards work.

Then there's the new school year.  Instead of MWF from 9-12, he'll be going M-F 12-3.  

That means no more naps.  

The upside is that hopefully means 8 pm bedtimes instead of 10:30 bedtimes.  We've been bad about late nights this summer.  

It's going to be weird not having to get up for school.  Noon to 3 isn't always his best time of day, but it'll be fine.

We know he really misses school and playing with his friends all the time.  

Lots of fun the next 6 to 8 weeks.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Noah's First Misheard Lyrics

Starting last week, Noah's new favorite song is Back In Black.  I'm a little proud of that.  For the past three days, when the song would be on, Noah would yell "LIONS" from the back seat.  We were puzzled.  Whenever he tells us things from the backseat, like fire truck, or bus, or balloons, or lights, he's never wrong.  So we had no idea where this Lions thing was coming from.  We'd repeat it and he'd say "yes, lions". 

Today we decided to pay closer attention to the song and see what it said when he yelled "LIONS".

It's the lyrics "I've got nine lives..."  He hears "I've got LIONS" I guess. 

Which, hey, would be way more cool than nine lives!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014


As Noah's vocabulary and speaking grow, we're getting more funny things he says.

Currently, The best one is "I'm Fine!"  We're not sure where he got it.  It started about a week ago.  The best use of it was one evening when we were watching videos of him as a baby (we tried to tell him it was him, but he said, "No, that's not me, that's a BABY") and we asked him, as we do every so often, if he wanted a baby.  His answer, "No, I'm fine, no baby."  Ha!

If he's watching his cartoons or something and you ask him to do something else, he'll answer, "no, I'm fine."  

He has also learned that a very loud "HEY" by me is often followed by "STOP IT" so now he says STOP IT before I do. 

If he's sitting close to you and wants to request something, like a snack, he'll get closer and whisper it to you.

The only princess Noah has watched is Sofia.  Yet, he will still get a stick and point it at Ching or and I "make" us a princess.

Oh yeah.  He's also the most polite toddler!  Anytime anyone sneezes, or if he sneezes, you have to say Bless You, or he does.  He uses Thank You and You're Welcome all the time, even in his play time with cars and trucks.  So sweet!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Crazy People

We did it.  We got brother and sister kittens that are about 8 or so weeks old.  Yikes!

It's been just over three years since we lost our Little Man and Silly cats.  Every so often we talk about how we miss having cats to boss us around, and sit and walk on us, and you know, be cats.  We had talked about getting just what we got - very young siblings. 

We've tried to wait and be patient.  Wait for Noah to be a little older.  Wait for Ramen to... well....

But, today when we took Ramen for his bath, there were four sets of sibling cats.  Two solid black, two grey, two white/calico, and the two we got were actually three when we first saw them.  The one that was more calico was adopted before we decided to actually go back and get them. 

The girl is all white with a splash of grey on her head.  The boy is mostly black with some white.  I had wanted more colorful cats, but these were so sweet. 

We have the cats in a medium sized crate, letting them get use to the smells.  We put them in our room, put Ramen outside our room, and let them run around a little.  So far, they're very quiet and didn't even Meow on the car ride.  The boy is more rambunctious.  They'll sleep in the crate for a while.  Then have more freedom in our room, then the downstairs, then we'll see how long it takes them to venture upstairs. 

We know it's going to be a slow process acclimating everyone to each other.  The cats to the house, to us, to Ramen, and to Noah. 

So far, Ramen couldn't care less.  We're hoping he's too old to chase them like he did our other cats.  We're also hoping they're young enough to not hate him on sight! 

Noah.  Well, he's a little harder.  He gets excited and squeals.  That's not good.  He also wants to throw their little toys at them for them to play with.  He'll get more used to them and be more calm - soon, we hope.  There's a fine line in disciplining him around the kittens enough to make him gentle with them, but not too much that he associates the kittens with getting in trouble.

That's what we did today. 

Thursday, April 24, 2014

The Resistance

More thoughts on schooling.

I think Ching and I are both feeling some resistance to the idea of Noah going to the special needs class.

The goal of his teacher and special ed helper are to get him ready for kindergarten.  That's a fine goal.  But I don't know that it's a goal we share.  To me, it feels like we're taking a great kid and making him conform to a system that isn't designed for him.  Yes, cue my rants against schools and how they're designed for girls and not boys or at least not our boy.  We've always felt that he won't sit still for story time because well, he doesn't like story time.  He'd rather be running.  But maybe we're wrong.  Maybe he doesn't like story time because it's all just words coming at him, and he's not good at listening to stories as opposed to watching videos.  Regardless, even a "play centered" preschool seems to be a bad match for our boy.  I think that if he needs this much help then maybe school isn't for him. 

The counter argument that's always in my head after my anti "girl" schools, is that apparently the majority of boys do just fine.

The biggest problem is that there just isn't an alternative right now.  We don't have a social network where he can make friends and play with kids outside of school.  And he's not old enough yet for sports to fill in that gap.  I can't take away his time with friends at school and home school him just because I don't like the whole set up of school.  That might be an option in the future, but it's not for now.

There's also not a big choice of alternative schools.  I know a lot of people like Montessori, and he might do better there, but even the ones that might be within driving distance cost $20,000 a year and UP.  That's not in our reality. 

So I feel like we're stuck.  I keep reminding myself this is about what's best for Noah, but it's so hard to know what that is. 

In a perfect world - Noah would have an older brother to mitigate a lot of this, to run around with, and play with, and to learn with.  We often blame whoever hands out babies for making this grave mistake.

In an ideal world -  we would live in a neighborhood in a small town with lots of other kids, and Noah and those kids would spend their time like Ching and I did growing up, playing, running, riding backs, playing hide n seek and tag.